The Colorado high country could see new snowfall measured in feet by midweek as a strong storm spins from the Pacific and cold from the Arctic moves into the state. Snow is in Denver's forecast on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The National Weather Service in Grand Junction said Sunday afternoon that northwest Colorado could get up to 10 inches by Monday night, another foot by Tuesday night, with heavy snow continuing to fall on Wednesday.
Wind gusts up to 25 mph — and up to 60 mph over ridges and along eastern mountain slopes — could create blinding driving conditions through the region as well. The same region saw more than a foot of snow a little over a week earlier.
Summit County and the Front Range mountains are expected to get up to 6 inches Monday
As of Sunday, the National Weather Service had not sized up the Denver metro area's potential accumulation, but put the city's chances of snow at 30 percent on Tuesday night and 50 percent on Wednesday with blustery conditions.
Temperatures in Denver on Monday, however, are expected to be above average with a high temperature of 52 degrees. The average for the date is 44 degrees.
A cold front is expected to drop in from the north and push nighttime temperatures below zero in western Colorado. Denver is expected to top out at 28 on Wednesday and 35 on Thursday, with lows each night in the teens. Sunny skies and seasonal temperatures will return on Friday, forecasters said. The freshly powdered mountains should warm into the 30s for the weekend before Christmas.
While a reliable forecast for Christmas Day was not yet available on Sunday, the National Weather Service noted that a White Christmas in Denver is unusual.
An inch of snow has been on the ground on Christmas Day just 42 of the last 112 years. Snow has fallen on Christmas Day in the city just six of the last 30 years, according to weather records.
That improved the state's snowpack to 41 percent of its 30-year average on Nov. 29 to 46 percent last Wednesday, with improvement from 37 percent to 52 percent during the same duration in northwest Colorado, according to the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Lakewood. The next winter storm should offer even more improvement.
Joey Bunch: 303-954-1174, firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter.com/joeybunch